As Congress moves toward impeachment, U.S. late-night hosts rib Trump - and Pelosi

NEW YORK (Reuters) - From late night television hosts to tabloid front pages, the congressional Democrats’ impeachment inquiry of U.S. President Trump sparked a firestorm of jokes and quips.

U.S. President Donald Trump listens to reporters questions during a bilateral meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, New York, U.S., September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The inquiry announced Tuesday by Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi means that Trump could be the third president to face impeachment proceedings, after a whistleblower complaint accused him of seeking Ukraine’s help to smear Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election.

“He is already promising that if he does it will be the biggest and most beautiful impeachment in history,” ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel said in his monologue on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” late on Tuesday.

“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah on Comedy Central said, “After two years of avoiding it, Trump may finally face articles of impeachment, which believe me he is not happy about.

“It’s impeachment which Trump hates, plus articles which he hates even more,” Noah said in an apparent reference to Trump’s disdain for journalists and his reputed aversion to reading, preferring television instead.

Tabloids in Trump’s hometown of New York employed bold images and headlines to needle both the Republican president and Pelosi, who had for months resisted calls inside her party for Trump’s impeachment..

“Impeaching to the Choir,” the New York Post’s front-page headline. In smaller lettering the newspaper mockingly asked, “Pelosi announces ‘inquiry’ - but isn’t that what they’ve already been doing?” Various Trump activities are the subject of about a dozen ongoing congressional investigations as well as more than a dozen federal, state and local inquiries.

As controversy swirled over the whistleblower complaint, pro-Trump commentators also used humor to skewer former vice president Biden. Conservative commentator Glenn Beck on Monday said, “The first stop on Biden’s corruption tour is Ukraine.”

NBC’s Seth Meyers, host of “Late Night,” also ribbed Pelosi on Tuesday.

“I’ve had my doubts in the past but I think this time, she’s serious,” Meyers said as over his shoulder appeared a photograph of Pelosi with her face painted blue to threaten war, resembling actor Mel Gibson as a 13th century Scottish warrior in the 1995 film Braveheart.

Kimmel referenced both Pelosi’s long-time reluctance to initiate an impeachment inquiry and accusations against Trump by more than a dozen women who said he made unwanted sexual advances against them before he entered politics. Trump has denied the accusations.

“Once again, Donald Trump is doing what he does best — forcing a woman to do something she didn’t want to do,” Kimmel said in his monologue.

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg, additional reporting by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Alistair Bell